Finance Ministry on Monday directed 12 senior government officers, including a chief commissioner, principal commissioners and commissioner of the Income Tax Department to retire under Rule 56(j) of the General Financial Rules (GFRs) of Central Government services.
It is to be noted that Rule 56(j) provides for compulsory retirement of government staff in public interest and it has existed for several decades. The Central government, however, has invoked this rule very rarely.
The officers include Ashok Agarwal, joint commissioner of Income Tax and former deputy director, ED; S.K. Srivastava, commissioner (Appeal, NOIDA; Homi Rajvansh, IRS 1985 batch; B.B. Rajendra Prasad; Ajoy Kumar Singh; B. Arulappa; Alok Kumar Mitra; Chander Saini Bharti; Andasu Ravinder; Vivek Batra; Swetabh Suman and Ram Kumar Bhargava.
It is to be noted that Ashok Agarwal has remained suspended from 1999 to 2014. He faced serious allegations of corruption and extortion and was found to have acquired wealth to the tune of Rs 12 crore through corrupt practices. IANS reported that some of the senior officers who have been directed to retire have acquired movable and immovable properties without obtaining required approvals.
Under the section, the performance of an officer who has turned 50 or 55 or has completed 30 years of service (whichever is earlier,) is being reviewed to ascertain if he/she is liable for compulsory retirement. This rule to punish non-performers was revisited immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed power in May 2014.